As a local authority there are regulations at a European, national and local level which we have to follow when procuring goods and services.
Our local procurement rules are set out within the Financial Regulations of the Newcastle Charter.
From 1 January 2014 until 31 December 2015, new procurement thresholds apply as detailed below:
- Goods & Services (£164,176)
- Works (£4,104,394)
Firms may be selected to participate in the procurement process using one of the following methods:-
From advertisement on the Electronic Tendering Portal; or
From a list of firms held by an approved Central Purchasing Body under an established Framework Agreement; or
By public notice or advertisement (for instance, in a relevant trade journal or on the Council's internet site); or
By any other means considered by the procuring Officer to be in the best interests of the Council, provided that this option is only used where it is not desirable in the interest of efficiency for any of the other methods listed to be used. It must be agreed in writing by the Procurement Manager that this is the best option.
All public sector contracts, no matter what their value, within the European Union are covered by a treaty which incorporates the free movement of goods and services and which prevents discrimination against firms on the grounds of nationality.
The main procurement rules issued by the European Union are set out within the EC Directive 2004/18/EC. This Directive has been implemented into UK Legislation by the Public Contracts Regulations 2006.
Both the Directive and the Regulations require us to follow detailed procedures for all procurements above financial thresholds. The thresholds are reviewed every year. It is £164,176 for Supplies and Services, and £4,104,394 for Works. We must act in accordance with the principles of equal treatment, transparency and non-discrimination for all our procurement activity.
Where the financial thresholds are exceeded all of the below rules apply:
A specific Tender Notice must be placed in the supplement to the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) to give all suppliers in the EU an equal opportunity to tender.
Tenders must be invited in accordance with one of the prescribed procedures (open, restricted, competitive dialogue - these are the main procedures). Each procedure imposes minimum time-scales covering the tender activities to make sure that reasonable time to respond to adverts and prepare submissions is given to interested parties.
A notice of contract award must be placed in OJEU. Unsuccessful contractors must be debriefed if requested.
Further information about the EU Procurement Directives can be viewed at http://simap.europa.eu/index_en.html